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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Earl's Pearls

American Jazz Classics 99038



1. Boogie Woogie on St. Louis Blues
2. Tea For Two
3. Stealin' Apples
4. Willow Weep For Me
5. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me
6. Rosetta
7. Like When The Saints
8. Satin Doll
9. Manhattan
10. You Can Depend On Me
11. Love Me Or Leave Me
12. The Song Is Ended
13. My Monday Date
14. Velvet Moon
15. Perdido
16. Squeeze Me
17. Rosetta

Earl Hines - Piano, vocals
Calvin Newborn - Guitar (tracks 1-12)
Carl Pruitt - Bass (tracks 1-12)
Bill English - Drums (tracks 1-12)


Nobody plays the piano quite like Earl Hines. Many pianists have been influenced by Hines, including Art Tatum, Nat "King" Cole and Billy Kyle, but none of them play with all the characteristics that made Earl so unique. He is credited with inventing the "trumpet style": introducing horn-like playing in the right hand and giving an orchestral feel to much of his playing.

Yet this is just one of his many specialities. Just analyse the opening Boogie Woogie On St Louis Blues to see how varied and adventurous he was. He plays boogie woogie, block chords, stride and arpeggios, plus maintaining a trill in the upper part of the keyboard for a very long time while playing a variety of other figures, some of them jumping over bar-lines. He even quotes The Song of the Volga Boatmen. He starts Tea For Two with a scintillating interpretation of the verse and then the melody, with unexpected changes of tempo and key. It is the sort of improvising that makes you smile with pleasure at the sounds of surprise.

This is a first-time reissue of a 1960 LP on CD, with half-a-dozen bonus solo piano tracks. Hines is accompanied by guitarist Calvin Newborn (brother of pianist Phineas Newborn), bassist Carl Pruitt and drummer Bill English, who all get solos on SteaIin' Apples. Earl adds easy-going vocals to I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me and Hines' own composition You Can Depend On Me.

Willow Weep For Me shows that Hines can perform a slow ballad with delicacy and charm. Every other track has something to recommend it but the highlights are Satin Doll, which has some unusually "modern" treatment of the piano; the puckish Love Me Or Leave Me (which includes a cheeky interpolation of a famous Rachmaninov prelude); and Rosetta, one of Earl's most famous songs - performed here in quartet and solo settings. Hines even manages to make The Saints sound fresh as Like When The Saints, which contains sly quotations from many other tunes - even including Jingle Bells.

The six solo tracks exemplify how Earl's trumpet style makes him sound like a whole orchestra. In an interview quoted on the sleeve-note, Hines reveals that he devloped the style because he wanted to play the cornet but found he wasn't suited to it. And later his style was influenced by such trumpeters as Joe Smith - and Louis Armstrong, with whom he played a great deal, especially in those notable duets like Weather Bird. Most of the six solos are relaxed mid-tempo tunes like Hines' own composition My Monday Date, and they make for very pleasant listening. Indeed, the whole album is a pleasure to hear.

Tony Augarde

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